Posts Tagged Matthew 13: 14 – 15

Word Seed

Matthew 13: 19

When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart.

This is from the Parable of the Sower. Jesus told the Parable of the Sower to the crowd but later explained it when his disciples questioned him about it. Although foundational, it is important we understand this parable and its implications for each of us. We know the Word has power. It is equally true, though, that few of us are living in the power that Jesus walked in. We have the same Word as he, even more than he had. So where is the problem?

The beginning point is here, “The sower sows the word,” (Mark 4: 14). Jesus is talking about the Word being sown. The first example is seed which falls on the side of the road. Immediately, birds came and ate the seed. Jesus used this parable to explain about people. He sowed the seed of the Word to many people. The first group of people he compares to seed which fell at the side of the road and was quickly gobbled up. It never even took root. Before it could ever be watered the fowl of the air consumed it.

Don’t forget, Jesus is talking about the variety of people he gave his words to. The first group are these upon whom the seed of God’s Word had absolutely no impact. Jesus gave them God’s Word; His wisdom and revelation, but the evil one immediately and successfully stole it from them. Jesus said the reason the devil was able to steal the Word was because they did not understand. The soil didn’t receive the seed. In other words, these people were not prepared to hear.

The soil is our heart (Luke 8: 15). But we have hardened our hearts. We have not cultivated the soil and nourished it so when Jesus sows his seed into our heart, “immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them,” (Mark 4: 15). Jesus told the disciples that Isaiah foretold this:

You will keep on hearing, but will not understand;
You will keep on seeing, but will not perceive;
For the heart of this people has become dull,
With their ears they scarcely hear,
And they have closed their eyes,
Otherwise they would see with their eyes,
Hear with their ears,
And understand with their heart and return,
And I would heal them.’
Matthew 13: 14 – 15

One may say, this has only to do with new believers and the evangelical message but I tell you, though often and routinely applied in that context, this is not the case. Isaiah called to Jews. He urged them to turn their hearts back to God, to soften their hearts, open their eyes and ears and receive understanding in their hearts. This is exactly the message that Jesus spoke that day and indeed, is speaking even until today. If you, dear reader, have ears to hear, receive what the Spirit of the Lord is speaking to you today.

Jesus explained that the Word he spoke to his people was quickly stolen by Satan because they lacked understanding. Then, quoting Isaiah, he said they lacked understanding because the hearts of the people become dull. They, we, don’t see and don’t hear because our hearts have become numb to the Word and, truly, even to Jesus. What was once good soil is no longer. Because we fail to prepare the soil of our heart, the Word of God preached to us takes no root. We are blind and deaf to what the Spirit of God is saying to us.

This is so tragic. As I type these words, my heart grieves. Jesus knew this would happen, yet it grieves him no less. His people, those who he preached to when he walked the earth and us, all of us who call him Lord, have turned away. We give him deaf ears and blind eyes. We give him hearts of stone and arrogance. Who shall turn to him with humility and hunger? Who shall receive the word he is preaching in the earth today? Do you hear the cries of those who say, “I don’t understand” as you watch the Word stolen immediately from them? Does your heart grieve too! Pray God will remove our hard hearts and restore us to Him in all humility, with a devout hunger for Him and His Word.

The Heart of the Matter

Matthew 13: 14 – 15

And in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, “You will keep on hearing, but will not understand; and you will keep on seeing, but will not perceive; for the heart of this people has become dull, and with their ears they scarcely hear, and they have closed their eyes lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart and return and I should heal them.”

 I cannot believe I never caught this before. Jesus was discussing how the Pharisees and those like them keep on hearing but never really hear and keep on looking but never see. They attend every conference, are at church every week but they never, according to Jesus, understand nor perceive. How catastrophic! They are dutiful but still ignorant. Why? Jesus explains in the next verse. He says their hearts have become dull. That is to say that regardless of how devoted we are about attending church and conferences, listening to tapes or streaming video it is all futile if we do not first engage our hearts.

Now, let’s be frank. A person who is constantly listening to CD’s, etc. is probably a true seeker and God has promised that those who seek find. However, those who haven’t set their hearts to God are going to be dull. In other words they have lost their passion and their hearts truly are not engaged. Jesus is telling us very plainly here that we cannot hear him nor perceive him if our hearts are not tender and open to him.

It seems that understanding is a heart matter rather than an intellectual issue. I didn’t know that. I have been seeking God with my intellect but look at the last bit of the passage. Jesus says that we will understand with our hearts. When we approach Jesus with tender hearts, with spirits which are open to him, then he will touch us and heal us. 

Our answers, our met needs are in Jesus and in the life that he came to earth to procure for us. If we are not living the abundant life that Jesus spoke of in John 10: 10 then we might want to check our hearts. Are our hearts bared before him? Does he have an invitation to abide there? The secrets and mysteries, the deep things of God are to be found through our hearts where we will see and hear. Glory to God for this insight!